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Full text of "Flora Indica Vol-I"

INTRODUCTORY  ESSAY.                                   39
portance attached to locality, we helieve that botanists have
no conception. Witness the fact, that several common Euro-
pean garden-plants introduced into the grounds of the British
Resident at Katmandu (Nipal), and thence re-imported to
England, have been at once put forth in this country as new
Himalayan discoveries, and specific characters invented for
them. But instances of this multiplication of names are
almost incredibly numinous: the corjmon English Yew has
two Himalayan names; the Ptens aquilina ( English Bracken),
seven; the eighteen known Indian species of Clematis are in
Steudel's eNomenclator* ranked under forty names; and we
may conclude by announcing our conviction, that more than
one-half of the recorded species of Indian plants are spuri-
ous, and that in many natural orders the undescribed species
hardly equal in number those which require to be cancelled.
The fact that almost every Himalayan plant has a vertical
range of nearly 4000 feet, and many of 8000, is in itself a
suggestive one. Several hundred species are dispersed from
the Levant to the Indus, and many more from the Ganges
to the Chinese Sea. Such instances of distribution in tropical
plants are called strange and exceptional by unreflecting bo-
tanists, who forget how many species are common to all longi-
tudes between England and Kamtchatka, or to all the moun-
tains of Europe; or to the Boeky Mountains of America, and
those of Scotland and Norway; or to all latitudes between
England and North Africa.
The subject of geographical distribution leads to questions
of practical importance, upon which we have a few remarks
to offer, as eminently bearing upon all questions relating to
the treatment of a systematic flora: these are,1. Its depend-
ence on the doctrine of specific centres. 2. The power of
migration as capable of effecting the present distribution. 3.
The general effects of migration in producing a much wider
dispersion and ubiquitous diffusion of species than is generally
admitted by botanists who have not investigated tropical
floras, and especially continental ones.